Details

ISBN-10: 1556596324
ISBN-13: 9781556596322
Publisher: Copper Canyon Press
Publish Date: 04/26/2022
Dimensions: 8.90" L, 4.00" W, 0.70" H

The Trees Witness Everything

Paperback

Price: $17.00

Overview

A lover of strict form, best-selling poet Victoria Chang turns to compact Japanese waka, powerfully innovating on tradition while continuing her pursuit of one of life’s hardest questions: how to let go.

In The Trees Witness Everything, Victoria Chang reinvigorates language by way of concentration, using constraint to illuminate and free the wild interior. Largely composed in various Japanese syllabic forms called “wakas,” each poem is shaped by pattern and count. This highly original work innovates inside the lineage of great poets including W.S. Merwin, whose poem titles are repurposed as frames and mirrors for the text, stitching past and present in complex dialogue. Chang depicts the smooth, melancholic isolation of the mind while reaching outward to name–with reverence, economy, and whimsy–the ache of wanting, the hawk and its shadow, our human urge to hide the minute beneath the light.

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Reviews

"The elegant and reflective fourth collection from Chang presents a moving elegy for both her deceased mother and the dying Earth, using form to capture the fleeting nature of life. . . . The poems seem like fragments of enlightenment collectively working toward a revelation. . . . For those who are grieving and those who have grieved, Chang offers beautiful insights, and a path toward healing."–Publishers Weekly

"From Victoria Chang, who grabbed attention with her recent OBIT, The Trees Witness Everything uses Japanese syllabic forms called wakas to plumb our rich interior lives."–Library Journal

"Chang captures the mind's calm, melancholy seclusion while reaching forth to describe the pang of desiring, the hawk and its shadow, and our human need to bury the minute beneath the light–all with reverence, economy, and humor. Her collection talks about a lot with care and directness."–Bookstr

"The calm speculation in the The Trees Witness Everything is both soothing and mystifying: elegant confusion, indeed. This book further develops this talented poet's oeuvre."–Valley Voices

"Chang's new book of poetry explores loss, mourning, and redemption through the prism of the Japanese waka. The poet uses this traditional form as a contrast to her contemporary language. While some subjects, such as the loss of her mother, are somber and melancholic, the music of Chang's verse soars with hope."–Alta

"This emphasis on a before and after is evocative of a cycle–the circle of life, if you will–and Merwin, just like Chang, seems to believe in the idea that history and life are really just ongoing cycles designed to propel us forward, just as they also keep us tied to our pasts."–Ploughshares

"The poems in The Trees Witness Everything are not necessarily meant to be distinct, in that together they enforce a practice, a timescale, in which each poem contributes. . . to writing as always an epistemological experiment."Los Angeles Review of Books

"[Chang] contrasts the natural world with the immeasurable spaces of human experience, often asking questions of the reader. 'How is it that trees / don't feel the way humans do? / The oldest tree is / five thousand years old, great storms / captured in its trunk.' . . . Chang's homage to Merwin, combined with her use of form, gives her new collection life. Most pages contain two small poems, paired and balanced, making the book simultaneously intense and readable."The Rumpus

"The poetry lover in me is thrilled that the world has more of her elegant and lyrical verse, which explores the cycles of grief and loss, and of course, rebirth."Chicago Review of Books

"In this new collection, Chang continues exploring loss and grief, even, or especially, for those with unknown histories. The Trees Witness Everything uses the constraint of a particular poetic form–a Japanese syllabic form called 'waka' – to navigate loneliness, longing, and letting go with both poignancy and humor."Shondaland

"Waka, ache, release."Ms. Magazine

"The simple cover of this slim volume is a nod to the apparent simplicity of the poems it contains. However, appearances can be deceiving. The Trees Witness Everything engages with Japanese poetic forms called 'wakas' that are powerful in their brevity."–Book Riot


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Details

ISBN-10: 1556596324
ISBN-13: 9781556596322
Publisher: Copper Canyon Press
Publish Date: 04/26/2022
Dimensions: 8.90" L, 4.00" W, 0.70" H
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